Ezekiel Bread (revisited)

“Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.”
Ezekiel 4:9 (NIV)

This is one of my favorite breads..it is not too difficult to make and it is super-nutritious. I’ve posted on this bread and variations of it in the past (click here, here, and here), and this is a revised version of those recipes. In this recipe I use 100% whole wheat flour (which I did in this recipe as well), but what is really different–and while this may seem insignificant, it is really not–is that I reduced the amount of liquid in the biga (pre-ferment) from 1 cup to 1/2 cup. This makes a somewhat dry starter but it keeps the subsequent dough from being too wet (which was a concern I’ve heard voiced by readers and bakers who tried the recipe). Another thing is that I added a few tablespoons of vital wheat gluten. Because whole wheat flour has less gluten than white flour, and the high concentration of grains, I felt this bread would benefit from a bit of added gluten…and it worked great. I had intended on offering metric measurements for this recipe for readers/bakers outside the US (purchased a digital scale recently), but alas time got away from me. I’ll do it in the future. Anyhow, if you enjoy baking, or even if you have never baked bread but want to, I hope you try this recipe…it is not as difficult as it may seem at first, but it is really delicious.

To learn more about my views of this bread, with more explicit directions and pictures, click here.

Whole Wheat EzekielBread
Makes 2 or 3 loaves
12cups water
2 tablespoons white beans
2 tablespoons redbeans
2tablespoons spelt berries
2 tablespoons lentils
2tablespoons barley
2 tablespoons millet
2 tablespoonsbulgur wheat
___________________
cooked beans and grains
½cup cooking water
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoonsinstant yeast
___________________

4 cups whole wheatflour

3tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2cups cooking liquid
___________________
1/4cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons kosher
3teaspoons instant yeast

Boil the grains in the water inlogical succession according to cooking times: first the white andred beans (about 60 minutes), when they are soft add the, speltberries, lentils, and barley (about 30 minutes); lastly, add themillet and bulgar (about 10 minutes). The key is that after eachaddition the previous grain must be soft enough so that when all ofthe grains are in the pot they will all be equally soft; undercookedgrains (especially the beans) can really ruin this bread. And as thegrains cook add more water to the pot as necessary because thecooking liquid, which is full of nutrients, will become part of therecipe (keeping a lid on the pot will slow it’s evaporation). Afterthe grains are cooked allow them to cool in the liquid to roomtemperature, refrigerating if necessary. After the grains are cooleddrain them, squeezing them with your hands or the back of a spoon,reserving the cooking liquid.

Placetwo bowls side-by-side; one will hold the pre-ferment, the otherautolyse. In one bowl combine the cooked and drained grains with ½cup of the cooking liquid, 2 cups whole wheat flour, and 2 teaspoonsinstant yeast. Stir it just until combined then cover it with plasticwrap. In the other bowl combine 4 cups whole wheat flour, 3tablespoons vital wheat gluten, and 2 cups cooking liquid; stir itjust until combined then cover it with plastic wrap (take care not toget yeast into this bowl). Allow the bowls to rest at roomtemperature for about an hour, during which time the preferment willbegin it’s job multiplying yeast and fermenting flour, and theautolyse will soak liquid, swelling the gluten.
Afteran hour or so, combine the ingredients from both bowls into the bowlof an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the honey, oliveoil, salt, and 3 teaspoons of yeast (add the yeast and salt onopposite sides of the bowl. Knead the dough on medium speed for about8 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover itloosely, and allow to ferment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled inbulk. Deflate the dough and allow it to ferment an additional 30minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface andcut it into 2 or 3 pieces. Shape into loaves and place into lightlyoiled pans. Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow toferment for 30-60 minutes, or until double in size and when gentlytouched with a fingertip an indentation remains.

Bake thebreads for about 30-40 minutes, adding steam to the oven a few times(either with ice cubes or a spray bottle) and rotating the breadsevery ten minutes. The breads are done when they are dark brown andsound hollow when tapped upon. Remove the breads from their pans andallow them to cook on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes beforeslicing.

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